The distinguished economist and historian William Engdahl provides must reading with this book. A Century of War once again proves Santayana's dictum, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." (And proves George Bernard Shaw's corollary, "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.")
The theme running throughout the book is the ruthless corporate and governmental pursuit of the magic moneymaker, Oil. And the unremitting subversion and wars to seize black gold. Engdahl describes the US and UK corporations and governments as international predators, occasionally as rivals (in earlier times), but normally as an axis of financial and military power bent on capturing the petroleum resources of the world.
Let us go through portions of the book in outline, paraphrasing fashion (although sometimes quoting), showing its thrust and sweep. [Bracketed comments will be mine; emphases also mine]:
early 20th century -- Serbia as the first line of defense of UK eastern possessions. [hence the strategic position of the Balkans, and the unfortunate position of Serbia -- see 1990's US-UK subversion and war against Yugoslavia, and demonisation of the excellent nationalistic leader, Milosevic, who refused the IMF's kiss-of-death funding]
By 1902, large reserves of petroleum believed to exist in Iraq and Kuwait, soon to be validated.
1913 -- British Government secretly buys up a majority share ownership of Anglo-Persia Oil (later called British Petroleum). "From this point, OIL was the core of British strategic interest.”